Monday, June 3, 2013

The Bradley Manning Trial Begins

After being held for more than three years awaiting trial, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning is finally getting his case heard.  Manning has already stipulated that he did download and distribute classified information to an unauthorized source - Wikileaks.

Kevin Gostzola, who has been covering the pre-trial hearings extensively for firedoglake (disclaimer - I have written hundreds of articles for firedoglake), was interviewed this morning, on Democracy Now:


 Gostzola, in his article today at firedoglake, notes:
10:42 AM EST Judge asked, “What are procedures put in place for public access to trial?” Maj. Ashden Fein, military prosecutor, answered that there are two different sets, ones for general public and then press access. 16 seats are in the courtroom, which are dedicated to public access to sit in this courtroom. Then there’s a trailer with a feed from the courtroom for 35 individuals from the public.  
If there is an overflow of 35, there is a “theater next door to courthouse that seats presently 100 individuals, however, there is flexibility for up to 540 based off fire marshal coming in changing seats.”  
As far as media goes, there are 10 seats for media organizations that are credentialed. Two additional seats are in the courtroom for credentialed sketch artists.
Although the mainstream media, which largely ignored the pre-trial phases, is now there in force, their coverage will be fairly shallow, often reactionary.

firedoglake will be covering the trial as fully as they did the pre-trial events.  Other bloggers of note who will be there are:

Alexa O'Brien:
I had been covering the WikiLeaks releases from late 2010 into early 2011 and so I had, you know, covered Manning’s nine months of confinement at Quantico where the judge actually ruled that his treatment was unlawful in her recent ruling, and I went to the pretrial and nobody was covering this trial. This is the largest leak trial in U.S. history. You know, in the secular age of information, we’re going through a type of Reformation of sorts, and these source documents are in a certain sense our Bible in the vernacular language so to speak, and so this is such an important trial and no one was covering it in the way in which I felt that this story needed to be covered, so I started to actually transcribe the trial that was being conducted in secrecy with no public docket.
Greg Mitchell, for The Nation:
Having pled guilty to some offenses, there was no scenario where Manning would not be found guilty in the months to come. Manning will serve jail time. The key question now, as the trial proceeds, is: How much jail time? And will he be convicted of offenses (which he did not plead guilty to committing) such as “aiding the enemy”?  
Back in December 2011, the government charged Manning with 22 offenses. They have decided not to pursue one charge related to the release of the Reykjavik cable, but on all other charges they intend to pursue the greater offenses. And they claim to have uncovered digital media from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan that held some of the State Department cables and Iraq or Afghanistan war logs, and they may be used as evidence to convict Manning of “aiding the enemy.” And that’s where we are, as the trial (which I’ll be attending each day), is set to begin, or so it seems.
Notably, national pro-Obama, so-called "progressive" blogs, such as Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo, have shown little interest in promoting the idea that what Manning did was necessary, or even commendable.  The most pro-Obama Alaska blog, The Immoral Minority, doesn't have a Bradley Manning tag (or a Wikileaks tag, either).

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